Just Between You and Me

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Monologuing and the dangers thereof.
"Gentlemen! Since you are about to die anyway, I may as well tell you the entire plot."
Benedict, Last Action Hero

Villains have an urge to gloat. There's something irresistible about twisting the knife that last little bit before finishing things. Rather than activate the needlessly complicated Death Trap right away, they will pause to outline their plan to the hero, often including information on how to stop it. This can give the hero the time they need to escape, but just as often the hero will simply sit there and wait. It's rude to interrupt someone when they're chat before trying to kill you.

Even those who plan to simply shoot their enemy may stop by to share details of their plans first. It sometimes seems that heroes get more information out of being interrogated than their interrogators do. Thanks to the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, this removes any chance the villain had at success... unless it already happened.

Sometimes, of course, it's all part of the plan. What good is Revenge if they still think it all was plain bad luck and don't know you're out to get them for killing your stepmother's brother's favourite cat? A character who thinks The Hero holds him in contempt may lay out the plan in hopes of getting his respect. But all too often, it's not justified in any way.

Heroes are only slightly less prone to such fits of Genre Blindness. They are just as ready to explains the whole game plan to a partner when the opponent stands just out of a hand reach and even more eager to "make a point" about the reasons why exactly the other side have to go down. Almost like proclaiming the verdict of a makeshift jury.

Many anime use this as a technique to drag out the fights.

Dates at least as far back as the movie serials of the 1940s (especially those made by Republic), making it Older Than Television. This is, in general, a very Discredited Trope that's very often parodied or subverted, but just as often played straight.

When the villain falsely thinks it's Just Between You And Me, you have an Engineered Public Confession.

When the villain takes advantage of their solitude to tempt The Hero, it's What You Are in the Dark.

Board to Death is a sub trope, that is normally successful because often the audience (which is not the hero) exists just for the purpose of this trope.

Truth in Television: As any prankster knows. Though not quite so much in the case of criminal or truly despicable behaviour, as guilt and/or fear of consequence usually overshadows the sadistic joy of mischief, and certainly any urge to reveal it.

Examples of Just Between You and Me include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Edward is chained up in a cell as the villain comes in to kill him. Ed baits the villain into spilling the beans on his Corrupt Church. Then Edward reveals that he was sitting in front of a live public address microphone, and that he had broken the chains.
    • In the manga, Ed lures Cornello into his broadcast room and tricks him into gloating about manipulating the townspeople with the microphone on.
    • There's also an example in the manga where Ed shows Genre Savvy. After Father reveals several of his plans, Ed comments something "since you've told us your plans, I assume you intended to kill us".
    • A similar incident in the manga and Brotherhood anime, where Lust shows that her core is actually a Philosopher's Stone, and Mustang points out that the only reason she's telling them this is that she has no intention of letting them live.
  • Used intelligently in Death Note: Light likes to gloat in front of his victims, but he does it discreetly and only when they are in their absolutely final moments. Ray Penbar sees a train's sliding doors close on Light, who mouths him a farewell just before Ray's heart attack kills him, Naomi Misora has Light's identity revealed to her one second before the Death Note takes over her mind, and the last thing Ryuzaki sees in this world is Light, standing over him and wearing a Slasher Smile no-one else can see. However, this pattern, though not the trope, is itself subverted when Light's final plan goes horribly wrong; the evidence against him may have been explainable if he hadn't shouted that this was his win.
  • In Samurai 7, Ukyo tells Kanbei, right before his planned execution, that he's planning to destroy Kanna Village and take over the world.
  • Parodied twice in Black Lagoon, when two separate villains get the drop on our AntiHeroes, only to spend so much time talking about how they've won that they don't get an actual shot off before Revy guns them down wordlessly while saying "Shut the fuck up!" as she pulls the trigger. Of course, one of them had the foresight to wear a bulletproof vest...
  • One Piece often goes a bit crazy with this trope, considering the number of Card Carrying Villains around.
    • Particularly notable is that nearly every villain helpfully explains their powers for the heroes' benefit - this is eventually given a Lampshade Hanging and Double Subversion when Calipha refuses to disclose her Devil Fruit's name and properties...and Nami guesses them perfectly.
    • Crocodile reveals the bomb that is set to go off in Alubarna when facing Vivi in the palace, as a way of mocking her desire to save everyone. While he does try to finish her off, Luffy and Pell manage to save her, and she uses the knowledge about the bomb to find and disable the cannon, although it takes Pell's near-self-sacrifice to stop it completely.
    • Strangely enough, it's Subverted Trope by chatty villain Blackbeard, who blows off Crocodile's question of why he's in Impel Down after just becoming a Warlords of the Sea. Maybe a factor on why it succeeds.
    • Lampshade Hung for laughs with broadaxe wielder Sentoumaru, who refuses to tell anything about himself saying he's the most tight-lipped person, then promptly revealing the exact information he just said he wouldn't reveal... And excusing himself that he wanted to reveal that when called out on his slip.
  • The big bad delivers a monologue to the heroes in S-Cry-ed via a remote video feed that serves to keep them in place long enough for his Kill Sat to get in firing position.
  • In one episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex an assassin just has to tell the Major that she will now kill her, once she had shut down all the controls for her cybernetic body. Too bad someone sneaks in to reconnect the controls while the assassin is taking her time to make it look like an accident.
  • Used in Trigun by Legato Bluesummers. Not only does he explain his plan, he forces it to come to fruition as well. His plan? Force Vash to kill him. However Vash was given the choice to either kill Legato or let his friends die, he obviously went with the lesser of two evils since he had no choice.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima screws around with this idea. Chao was smart enough not to gloat about the completion of her plan until a week after she already did it, sending the protagonists forward in time to when she already won. Unfortunately for her, Negi has his own Time Machine, so he and his squad decide to Set Right What Once Went Wrong...
    • Actually, she had knowingly given him the time machine earlier and it was the time machine itself that sent them a week into the future. What she didn't expect, was that he'd be able to fix it and get it working again after it broke itself upon their arrival.
  • Done all of the time in Bleach.
    • Among others, Barragan, Shinji, and Shunsui have all completely described their powers to their respective opponents.
    • Shunsui doesn't suffer too badly from doing this.
    • Barragan is killed because of this
    • Shinji is beaten by Aizen Sosuke. Though to be fair, Aizen figured out most of it himself.
    • Aizen loves this trope. He has routinely spent as many pages as he possibly could when given the opportunity to monologue about his plans, intentions, and knowledge. If you consider Aizen is a Magnificent Bastard whose plans have been going on for, at least, a century, he must have been holding his gloating for one HECK of a long time. Since he has endured Gotei 13 for so much time, it's only fair to assume he wants payback and talk their ears out on how weak, immature or otherwise flawed they are. Not to mention his gloatings are supposed to make people enraged and throw them out of focus so they can be defeated, cue to Hiyori getting cut in half by Gin. Case in point: during the original reveal at the end of the Sould Society arc, Aizen spends nearly two episodes explaining his plan, and even getting interrupted by a giant punch from Komamura can't stop him.
  • Invoked in Mezzo DSA episode 3 by Mikura, who says to a client who betrayed the DSA, "Since you're a villain, act like one and give an explanation."
  • Madara from Naruto does this CONSTANTLY. He pretty much likes to show up, say something important, and then leave.
    • In Naruto this is often subverted actually: Madara explains his plan to the Kage because he needs them to know it to be able to make his move. And after Pain explains his intentions to Jiraiya, he does succeed to kill him (he plays this straight with Naruto however). And for both, the major difficulty in defeating them is to find out how their ability works, cause they have the presence of mind not to explain it in full detail during the fight.
    • Also, in the current arc, the resurrected characters have the control of their mind and mouth but not their body (most of them anyway). This leads to weird situations where these characters try to kill their opponents while explaining them how they can be defeated and telling them to dodge their attacks.
    • In chapter 578 of the manga, Itachi explains his plan on how to beat Kabuto right to his face. The latter is only amused.
      • To be fair though, Itachi specializes in genjutsu so it was probably very obvious to Kabuto that he'd use it anyway - in other words Itachi just stated the obvious. It's like Naruto saying he'll use shadow clones.
  • In the most recent arc of Katekyo Hitman Reborn Daemon Spade invokes and promptly subverts this trope when confessing to his status as The Man Behind the Man to a kidnapped and seriously freaked out Chrome Dokuro. The confession is coupled with several requests to pull a Face Heel Turn, and when she refuses to switch allegiances he simply decides to hypnotize her and order that she not leave his side, pretty much guaranteeing that his plans won't be derailed by telling her.
  • In the Eighth movie of Dragonball Z, Paragus ends up exposing to the Z-fighters that he lured the heroes onto New Planet Vegeta for an elaborate trap that involved Comet Camorie colliding with the planet, so he could conquer Earth, as well as most of the universe completely uncontested. However, this backfires when his son Broly ends up becoming enraged enough by Goku's presence to completely break free of Paragus' control and go berserk, and eventually giving revenge to Paragus for attempting to brainwash him.
    • Also, during the series, Picollo actually invokes this trope by pretending to be helpless after Cell drains his arm. Cell decides to tell Picollo of his origins, abilities and goals before absorbing him, only for picollo to regenerate his arm, and thus return to his full strength.
  • Subverted in Tiger and Bunny, as Albert Maverick has a rather good reason to go into detail about his schemes when confronted by Barnaby: he's buying time for the drugs he slipped into Barnaby's drink to kick in so he can safely edit his memory. Again.
  • Happens so many times in Fushigi Yuugi until they get to one monologue in which Nakago actually reveals that he had anticipated every single thing the heroes did in response to his plan, and then thanks them for it.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Subverted and lampshaded in chapter 11 of the graphic novel Watchmen.

"Veidt: I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I would explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago."

    • Also, the people he's talking to aren't really his enemies but former comrades, and he believes that he can convince them that he's right. He partially succeeds.
  • In Mighty Avengers #11, Doctor Doom monologues in thought bubbles while calmly threatening the heroes, and finishes the thought with "...but I'll be damned if I'm going to stand here and explain myself to you!!!"
  • Lampshaded in Normalman, as the Ultra Conservative tells Normalman "I'm going to make you listen to my insidious Master Plan!" (while unrolling a Ko-Ko style "little list".) Because it's in the contract: "On capture by the Party of the First Part, the Party of the Second Part must listen to a) Origin Story or b) Master Plan." However, before we can find out what it is, Captain Everything and Sergeant Fluffy burst in shouting "You aren't going to bore the audience to death with your insipid Master Plan!"
  • Lampshaded in Y: The Last Man. Radical misandrist Victoria, leader of the Daughters of the Amazon, has tracked down Yorick, the last man alive, and is starting a speech about how he's going to pay for the crimes of all his gender when Yorick interrupts her with: "Geez, you Amazons don't know when to just shut up and kill a guy!"
  • In Transformers: Maximum Dinobots, Scorponok keeps Hot Rod alive for the sole purpose of giving one of these to stroke his ego. In fact, when Hot Rod tries to goad Scorponok into giving more information, Scorponok recognizes the attempt and then declares that he's going to tell Hot Rod his entire plan in great detail anyway.
  • During his second meeting with Miasma, Magog is captured and comments on how much he hates this trope. He tunes out the villain and the text is replaced with scribbles and gibberish until he starts listening again.
  • Senator Roark gives one to John Hartigan in Sin City. Unlike most versions of this trope, the Senator is getting away with it and they both know it.
  • In All Fall Down, AIQ Squared delivers this in the final chapter, explaining how and why Siphon was manipulated into a position where she would be helpless to prevent her powers being stripped from her, killing her in the process.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in With Strings Attached. After capturing and/or disabling the four, Brox responds to some anguished “Why?”s with “The joke is funnier if you don't know why now.”


Film[edit | hide]

  • The page quote is spoken with just a sprinkling of sarcasm. It's a Genre Savvy nod to the trope, which has been lampshaded in the film twice by then as a 'Classic Movie Mistake'; the second in an Ironic Echo.
  • Despite popular belief, rarely played straight in James Bond. Bond often has the gist of the plan figured out, and though the villain often gloats, they rarely have to explain too much, at worst clearing up the details.
    • Justified in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, where just for once Blofeld actually has a sensible reason for keeping the captured Bond alive and explaining the plot to him: Bond's credibility will lend weight to Blofeld's threat to the United Nations.
    • Lampshaded in the card game Before I Kill You, Mister Bond (which became James Ernest's Totally Renamed Spy Game after legal threats).
    • Subversion in Goldfinger: Auric blabs about his master plan to a bunch of goons, not Bond. Bond just so happens to be peeking in. Then Goldfinger kills the goons; however, he made sure they told their people to cooperate before he eliminated them. Then inverted, when Bond himself explains the plan to Goldfinger. Initially Bond thought the plan was a heist, but when Goldfinger says it isn't, Bond realises what the true plan is, and tells Goldfinger that it's actually quite brilliant.
    • Averted in Moonraker where Hugo Drax lampshades the trope and then says he's not going to follow it. But when Bond and the Bond Girl follow Drax up to his space station and see most of what's happening anyway, Drax helpfully provides the remaining details before ordering them Thrown Out the Airlock.
    • Both Subverted and played straight in Diamonds Are Forever.
      • You think Blofeld is going to explain his plan, but...

James Bond: What do you intend to do with those diamonds?
Blofeld: An excellent question. And one which will be hanging on the lips of the world quite soon. If I were to break the news to anyone, it would be to you first. You know that. But it's late, I'm tired, and there's so much left to do. Good night, Mr Bond.

      • Later on when Bond arrives at the oil rig base Blofeld gives him the grand tour and explains his plans fully. Justified since the plan is to hold the world hostage with a Kill Sat for money- and he's already made his demands and threat known, and is only telling Bond what targets he might choose. Bond has already figured out how to stop it as well.
    • Mild inversion in Tomorrow Never Dies- the Evil Plan turns out to be less heinous (though still heinous) than what the heroes thought it was (they thought Carver was trying to start World War III For the Evulz and for rating; he's actually in a Big Bad Duumvirate (of sorts) aimed at installing a new Chinese government via nuking the old one and blaming it on the British, with his ally emerging as a Villain with Good Publicity when he takes over the country and negotiates a truce (Carver is still after ratings). Also a perfect example of how Bond movies subvert this trope- they were already trying to foil his plan before he even explained it.
  • Lampshade Hanging in the film The Incredibles, where the villains' penchant for elaborately explaining their nefarious plans is dubbed "monologuing" by the heroes. Syndrome falls for it anyway—which is entirely plausible; he wants Mr. Incredible to know how great he is.

Syndrome: "You sly dog, you got me monologuing."

  • In Dogma, the villain taunts the heroes in this way, but then defies it.

"I've seen enough Bond movies to know that you never give away all your secret plans, no matter how close you are to success."

  • Possible first subversion was in the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Tuco is surprised while in the tub by an old rival, who starts talking about how his revenge is at hand. Tuco, unimpressed, shoots the rival, then notes "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk," before finishing him off Gangsta Style.
  • A slightly over-wordy homage to this moment appears in Van Helsing:

Aleera: Anna, my love. It is your blood that shall keep me beautiful. What do you think of that?
Anna Valerious: (Drives a stake through her chest) I think if you're going to kill somebody, kill them! Don't stand around talking about it!

  • Subverted in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. One of the villains' allies decides to tell Kirk and McCoy the master plan, but they are beamed to safety by Spock before they get to hear a word of it.

Kirk: No! No! Of all the -- son of a -- Couldn't you have waited two seconds? They were just about to tell us the whole thing!
Chekov: You want to go back?
McCoy: Absolutely not!

  • In Iron Man, Obadiah Stane gets to do this with Tony Stark. He paralyzes Tony with a sonic device which has effects lasting 15 minutes, and proceeds to remove the arc generator from his chest, gloating all the way. The flaw in this plan is that Stane doesn't know there is an old generator Tony can use, but due to the temporary paralysis, it comes much closer to working than similar gloating plans. This is also an interesting variation in that the gloating didn't actually harm the villain's plans... He had to tip his hand to get the generator, which was after all attached to our hero, anyway. If anything, gloating longer would probably have kept his eye on Tony long enough for his heart to finish failing!
    • Well, gloating longer would probably have resulted in Tony's death, but then SHIELD agents would already have been at the factory waiting for him.
  • Happens between Lewis and the Bowler Hat Guy in Meet the Robinsons in the orphanage: Lewis demands "What did I ever do to you?", at which point BHG tells him the story of his long and ridiculously pathetic life, and also that Lewis is Cornelius Robinson.
  • In the movie Die Hard, when terrorist Marco is chasing and shooting John McClane who is crawling under the table, he runs out of ammo, then says (while reloading) to John, "Let me give you some advice, next time you have to kill someone, don't hesitate." John shoots him through the table, killing him, then says, "Thanks for the advice."
  • Justified Trope and/or Played with in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen when the heroes find a phonograph that the villain had planted on the Nautilus. In the recording he reveals all of his plan up to that point, but as a twist, there is a high-pitched noise also on the record that only Mr. Hyde can hear that is the trigger mechanism for several bombs that were also planted aboard the sub by The Mole (Dorian Gray). He reveals this at the end of the recording right before they start going off. Of course they still live.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Return of the Jedi, Palpatine gleefully explains his trap to Luke... But there isn't anything Luke can do and the Rebels fall into it. And not only that, Palpatine's gloating is not just for fun, he needs to get Luke angry, upset, and hating him for the Dark Side to kick in.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Dooku has Obi-Wan imprisoned and tells him the truth. Darth Sidious is in control of the Republic. Not only does this not backfire, it actually helps. By telling the Jedi this, they start investigating Republic senators and Sidious latches on to this to create tension between the Jedi and Republic, ultimately allowing him to declare them traitors. If they did nothing, Sidious continues his plan unbothered so he wins wither way.
  • Spoofed in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, where the Private Detective argues over his right to give The Summation versus the Big Bad's right to his Just Between You and Me speech. They start alternating their speech, eventually revealing the whole scheme in unison.
  • Spoofed in Sky High. Gwen, after outlining her Evil Plan to turn all of the superheroes into infants and then raise them again as villains, then tells The Commander (who has been turned into an infant, and who she is cradling in her arms) that this is the best villainous speech she's ever given, and it's too bad that he can't understand a word she's saying.
  • Subverted in Damnatus in that G'guor does kill Nira half way through his Evil Gloating. Not to be put off, he continues monologuing to the spirit stone she was carrying.
  • Inverted in Minority Report when Anderton explains Burgess' plot to him (and the audience) at the end of the film after Burgess has fully enacted his plot. Anderton's actions cause Burgess to commit suicide.
  • Inverted in the 1994 Street Fighter film where it's the heroes who scupper their plans by revealing it to the villains. Chun Li, Honda and Balrog have M Bison and Sagat in a tent together which they plan to blow up with a lorry loaded with dynamite. However, they leave a video behind to gloat to the villains which of course gives Bison and Sagat time to escape.
  • Played straight and subverted in Monsters vs. Aliens. The main villain Gallaxhar does decide to exposit why he essentially committed genocide against his own people and at the same time wanted to repopulate the Earth with clones of him, but he was telling her while he was hooked up to the cloning machine, which had him being sporadically muted when the machine lowers down, causing a lot of his speech to be skipped over and thus his full reasons being unknown. When the machine stops and says that he'll kill her since he told her all she needs to know, she gives a blank confused stare.
  • Lampshaded in Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. The eponymous cat outlines her evil plan to the captive heroes, pointing out that she needs to do something to kill the time until her satellite moves into position.
  • In Back to The Future Part II, the "rich version" of Biff tells Marty the details of how he acquired Gray's Sports Almanac — a surprising piece of candor until he pulls out his gun.
  • In True Lies Harry does this while bound to a chair, and under the effect of truth serum, just as Samir prepares to inject him with him poison. So they don't take him seriously until he demonstrates his abillity to do what he promised.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • During the climaxes to the first 6 books, Harry Potter's main strategy was to make the villains talk, as a way to buy some time and think of a way to get the hell out. In the final book, his plan is to keep talking himself, to both try and get the big bad to step down after realising he is well and truly screwed either way, and to tell everyone why the big bad is screwed, and if he is killed they can just mass kill him.
    • Dumbledore gets Malfoy to explain how he got Death Eaters into the school at the end of book six. He then points out how this just proves Malfoy isn't actually going to go through with it - if he wanted Dumbledore dead, he wouldn't stop to chat.
  • Discworld:
    • In Men At Arms, Commander Vimes muses about how it's better to be at the mercy of an evil man: "The evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat. ... A good man will kill you with hardly a word."
    • First Lampshaded, then Inverted Trope in The Fifth Elephant:

Wolfgang: What is it you want me to say, Your Grace? Something like "you are going to die anyway so I might as well tell you", perhaps?
Vimes: Well, it'd be a help.
Wolfgang: You are going to die anyway. Why don't you tell me?

  • Used slightly oddly in the novel The City of Dreaming Books. The villain just seems to enjoy giving this speech, even when it's completely unwarranted. In fact, many of his victims point out that they never would have known he even had an Evil Plan, had he not told them about it in great detail before disposing of them.
  • In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Doctor Impossible repeatedly struggles against this urge, remembering his last defeat:

Last time I told them everything, giving it away like a fool, how I was going to do it, how escape was impossible. And they just listened, smirking.

  • Subverted in James P. Hogan's story The Assassin. The title character is sent to liquidate a scientist who had defected from his side, succeeds, but is then captured. His interrogators then introduce him to his "deceased" target, who has developed technology to duplicate people. Since they can duplicate the prisoner as many times as necessary, they can simply try every interrogation strategy... including honest explanation and persuasion.
  • Played straight and lampshaded in the Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM novel Duty Calls, where Cain meets with the Inquistor that's been trying to kill him through the whole book. The Inquisitor waits until he thinks Cain is on his side before revealing the whole plan. The Lampshade Hanging comes from the villain's name, Ernst Savros Killian, which bears a striking resemblance to a certain James Bond villain.
  • Subverted in R. A. 's Homeland. Alton DeVir asks the Faceless Master why he is about to kill him. The Faceless Master refuses, because "You broke my mirror!"...even though Alton only broke it while running from the Faceless Master after the Faceless Master first attempts the assassination. Alton reflects that that doesn't make any sense before the Faceless Master's apprentice shoots him from behind.
  • Double Subverted in Lois McMaster Bujold's The Vor Game. The Big Bad decides to reveal her plan to Miles before sending him away to attend to some business for her. Some time later, Miles decides that she couldn't possibly have told him her actual plan for the moment and uses this (and the two other plans she's thought of, told to people, and discarded) to deduce her current plan. Then he decided that plan is too obvious and goes with the second option. Yes, it dissolves in a Gambit Pileup. How did you guess?
  • During the fifth Dresden Files book, Harry tries to bait Nicodemus into doing this, to no avail. Later, he remarks to Susan that he must've read the Evil Overlord List.
  • Completely inverted in Forgotten Realms novel Silverfall, when one Affably Evil foe inadvertently convinced Storm Silverhand to spare his life after his surrender was answered only by one raised eyebrow. By asking one right question. Well, by asking and then clarifying it:

There's just one thing I'd like to know before I die. How did you know?
Know about what?

  • Warrior Cats: Hawkfrost does this at the end of Sunset. His plan wasn't particularly complicated, but before trying the strike the killing blow, he felt the need to tell Brambleclaw that he was just testing him. And of course, after Brambleclaw impales him, he remembers something else important and says a little extra as he bleeds to death.
  • The Berlin Memorandum by Adam Hall. The neo-Nazi Big Bad not only explains his master plan to British spy Quiller, he is so confident in its success that he lets Quiller go. Subverted however in that a) the master plan is bogus anyway, and b) it's actually a Nice Job Guiding Us Hero gambit—the Nazis hope Quiller will contact his base in an attempt to avert the plan, thereby exposing its location to them.
  • The villains in the Alex Rider series have a habit of doing this.
    • Lampshaded by Alex when he says that one of the downsides of being a criminal is that you can't tell people about your crimes
  • Lampshaded near the end of Emma Bull's Finder:

Orient: This is--this is the part of the movie where the villain tells the hero everything, because he's going to kill him anyway. Except that I can't think of any more questions.

Is it indiscreet to ask how you discovered this tunnel?"
"Sir," the captain answered me, "there can be no secrets between men who will never leave each other."
I ignored this innuendo and waited for Captain Nemo's explanation.

  • Partially averted in L Neil Smith's THE VENUS BELT, where the protagonist notes "I had already had the cliche interview with the head villain, and I still didn't know what was going on."
  • In Juliet Marillier 's Daughter of the Forest, the villain has the heroine in his power and planning to burn her as a witch. He takes to visiting her in her cell to gloat. As he is convinced she really cannot talk, he lets slip some things he might otherwise not have divulged. Of course, when she does regain her voice, she tells his nephew (and his enemy) all about it.
  • The Sphinx does this in the final book in Fablehaven, after having Seth in his clutches, he actually tells him that his victory is so assured, he'd like to have one honest conversation with one of his respected nemeses. He then goes on to explain in detail his origins, his source of power (and weaknesses thereof) and all the other things that usually pertain to this trope. He then has Seth sent to his dungeon, and, for the most part, doesn't really suffer any consequences from this particular discussion.
  • Becomes a plot point in the third book of Mistborn, when the Big Bad, a certified Eldritch Abomination, manifests to the heroine for no other reason than to gloat, but she can't figure out what he's getting out of it. She then realizes that it's just to satisfy his ego- leading her to the correct conclusion that he's on some level human and fallible.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Doctor Who:
    • Nicely Lampshaded the episode "Utopia", where the newly regenerated Master says to The Doctor: "Why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me, I don't think!"
    • He goes and does exactly that with the Time Lords in "The End of Time Part 2". He definitely knew by that point that it's a bad idea to tell your nemesis your plan, and yet he tells it to the President of the Time Lords, a man with near godlike technology at his disposal.
    • This of course happens in a great deal of Doctor Who serials, both Classic & Nu-Who, but a notable subversion is in City of Death:

(upon finding six Mona Lisas hidden behind a wall)
The Doctor: May I ask where you got these?
Count Scarlioni: No.
The Doctor: Or how you knew they were here?
Count Scarlioni: No.
The Doctor: They've been walled up a long time?
Count Scarlioni: Yes.
The Doctor: I like concise answers!
Count Scarlioni: Good.

    • This gets brought up again in The Robots of Death:

The Doctor: I see. You’re one of those boring maniacs who’s going to gloat. Are you going to tell me your plan for running the universe?
Taren Capel: Oh no Doctor. I’m going to burn out your brain. Very very slowly.

Of course he spills the beans about his plan a few minutes later, but it's still a good line.
    • The Doctor tries to deliberately - not to mention directly - invoke this in "The Vampires of Venice" when surrounded by said vampires:

Eleventh Doctor: Tell me the whole plan!
[The vampires simply hiss at him]
Eleventh Doctor: One day that'll work...

    • Parodied in "The Lodger" when Craig, the ordinary guy the Doctor is lodging with, begins to tell the Doctor all his fairly modest ideas for how the call centre he works at can streamline effectively and what he wants to do with his life out of the blue, before realizing out loud that he's telling all of this to a complete stranger. Obviously referring to the countless maniacs who like to monologue at him, the Doctor assures him that he's not the first.

The Doctor: I've got one of those faces. People never stop blurting out their plans when I'm around.

  • The demons in Supernatural have a bad habit of doing this. Meg, Tammi, even Azazel have given up easy victories this way. Other monsters' modus operandi tend to be exposited in other ways, from arcane research.
    • Lampshaded by Dean in "Devil's Trap" with, "Listen, you mind just getting this over with, huh? Cause I really can't stand the monologuing." This turns out to be a slight mistake when his organs start to, y'know, liquefy.
    • Surprisingly averted when new Big Bad Lilith has both heroes helpless. Sam tries to bargain with her; she points out he has nothing she wants, and Dean tries to prompt a bit of monologuing. "So, is this your big plan, huh? Drag me to hell. Kill Sam. And then what? Become queen bitch?" Lilith simply replies "I don't have to answer to puppy chow," and sets the hellhounds on him, killing him before immediately attempting to kill Sam. It didn't work, but not for want of trying at least, and it wasn't until the next season we actually found out what her plan is
    • The angels, especially Zachariah, enjoy monologuing as well, which is how Dean discovers the identity of the final seal before Sam breaks it.
  • Lampshade Hanging in Sledge Hammer!: when an assassin has Sledge tied to a Death Trap, he tells him how he intends to kill the captain. Sledge responds by saying, "I'll never understand why you guys explain your whole plan before you kill somebody."
  • Subverted in the Pushing Daisies episode "Dummy." The murderer makes a full confession while the heroes are wrapped in body bags and locked inside a car, so they can't actually hear a word of what he's saying.
  • Lampshaded in a Dollhouse episode.

Daniel: Why are you telling me this?
Cindy: Because it's funny. And because you won't remember it.

  • In both the miniseries and novel Neverwhere the villain Islington explains his plan to the heroes. This partly justified, as he believes his plan cannot be stopped, and he genuinely wants to convince the heroes to join him. The page quote is from the DVD commentary.
  • "Chuck Versus the Ring Part II:"

Chuck (the good guy to the main villain): "I'm sorry, are you asking me to make the classic villain mistake of explaining my dastardly plot to you? You know what, I'd love to."

  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Little Green Men", Nog of all people unleashes a classic—albeit entirely invented—rant of this form in order to distract his Korean War-era military interrogators, complete with several instances of "I might as well tell you this because it won't matter anyway."
  • In Loyalty, one of the later Horatio Hornblower TV films, Hornblower and his men taken prisoner after a traitor on their ship hands them over to the French. Hornblower is invited to dinner, where the traitor reveals that he is neither the only traitor nor even the biggest traitor in Admiral Pellew's squadron. Hornblower notes that it would be cruel to send him to his death without even telling him who the traitor is. Of course, The Mole is Dangerously Genre Savvy, and simply agrees that it would be cruel, before sending Hornblower back to his cell.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Stoke Me a Clipper", some random Nazi villains try to do this to Ace Rimmer;[1] one orders the other one to "Take him into the hold, take ten minutes to explain our entire plan to him, and then throw him out of the plane."
  • In Heroes, Sylar tells Alejandro that he plans on using Maya as a toy after he gets her to harness her plague power. It's justified in this case, as he is perfectly aware that Alejandro won't understand a thing he says anyways, as Alejandro does not speak nor understand English.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in Nebulous, when the eponymous professor is captured by the evil Klench.

Nebulous: Surely you're going to outline your brilliant plan?
Dr. Klench: Why should I? The information's no use to you.
Nebulous: To... satisfy my curiosity?
Dr. Klench: It's irrelevant. Any minute now you're going to be a dead body.

Mr Gently Benevolent: I'm not falling for that old "You ask me, I tell you, you foil my plan" trick again.
Pip Bin: Just give me a hint?
Mr Gently Benevolent: Oh, all right.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Feng Shui's Spy archetype has the unique schtick of spending a Fortune point to get a reluctant or hostile NPC to tell them something they shouldn't, and it's best used when captured to get a villain to engage in a Just Between You And Me speech. Also, Seed of the New Flesh, the Architects sourcebook, has a Criminal Mastermind archetype that has "Slave to the Cheese" as their unique weakness -- which not only requires you to make this kind of speech to enemies you capture or nonlethally defeat, but also precludes just shooting your foes (as well as forcing you to prevent others from doing the same) in favor of elaborate deathtraps and other Bond villain-style ways of toying with your prey.
  • In the Marvel Super-Heroes RPG, the section on villains actually outlines this in game terms: villains get a karma bonus for telling the heroes their plans.
  • In Exalted, an Infernal Exalt who has offended his or her demonic masters can atone by behaving like a Card-Carrying Villain. One method is called "Infernal Genius Declaration," and involves showing off to a captured and helpless enemy by delivering a monologue describing his or her evil plan in great detail. The Infernal will receive this atonement, incidentally, whether this monologue leads to their plans being thwarted or not.
  • Car Wars. Autoduel Quarterly magazine Volume 7 #2, adventure "Mutant Zone". If the PCs are captured they're taken to Blob, the mutants' leader, who explains his plans to use braintape technology to put the mutants' minds into the brains of human beings.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Portal 2
  • Lampshaded in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door when you confront Lord Crump. Instead of telling you his plans, he replies "Oh no, that's a novice villain mistake!"
    • A very similar moment occurs in Advance Wars: Dual Strike (which was made by Intelligent Systems, the same people who made Thousand Year Door). When questioned about Black Hole's recovery, Teen Genius Lash responds: "Duh! Like I'd tell you that!"
  • Subverted and lampshaded in Baldur's Gate 2: You have the option of asking the Big Bad what he's planning, and he flatly responds, "No, you warrant no villain's exposition from me." You have to go extra mile of asking one of his treacherous lieutenants.
    • One of the Big Bad's hirelings even muses, "No doubt he feels a villain is always undone in the exposition. I cannot say I blame him. I have many a dead friend that boasted when silence would have served."
  • Parodied several times in the Monkey Island series. In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, the titular villain explains his Rube Goldberg Device Death Trap in minute detail, and then takes some time to allow Guybrush to ask questions in case he needs clarifications. In The Curse of Monkey Island, after capturing the hero, LeChuck insists on explaining the plot. Eventually Guybrush has to hold his hands to his ears and tell LeChuck he's deliberately ignoring him in order to get him to stop.
  • The Final Fantasy series
    • Subverted in Final Fantasy VI, where the heroes, while sneaking through the Magitek Factory, overhear Kefka rambling about his desire to awaken the Warring Triad statues, but Kefka still seems to succeed in that plan, even though the heroes overheard him.
    • Don Corneo from Final Fantasy VII comes to mind. Is it because he's ready to die? Sure of victory? Or just clueless? Guess.
      • However short-lived it was, Corneo's "victory" was that he got Cloud to stop walking away to answer the stupid question. Had he (Cloud, that is) just kept on walking, he could have gotten to Sector 7 in much better shape than he did, not to mention much sooner.
    • Barthandelus in Final Fantasy XIII does this just before sending you to a training ground.
      • However, Barthandelus is a pathological liar, and thus it's debatable just how much of what he says is just a way of manipulating the party and how much of what he says concerns his actual plans.
  • This happens in zOMG twice, although both times it was just a distraction while the villain in question was preparing his method of attack. During the Big Bad's monologue, one of your crew members will hang a lampshade.
  • Done by Liquid Ocelot to Old Snake before their final duel in Metal Gear Solid 4, though one could say that it's perfectly legitimate for him to do so because (1) he's Ocelot and (2) his true plan had already succeeded.
    • Done all the time in the Metal Gear Series. Liquid and Solidus in particular seem to love doing this. It was toned down a few notches in part 3 and most of part 4, but it still takes up lots of time, especially considering Snake's tendency to ask for clarification.
      • The book In the Darkness of Shadow Moses implies that the above part about Liquid was actually a subversion, as they were actually fully aware that they were being listened in on, but deliberately continued talking about their "plans" in order to keep the mission control fooled.
    • In Portable Ops, Lt. Cunningham, after Snake boarded the elevator, explained that he was actually working for the Department of Defense and not for either Gene or for the CIA, and explained that the DOD planned on having Gene launch a nuke at the Soviet Union in order to tarnish the CIA's reputation as an efficient intelligence group, and later nuke the San Hieronymo Peninsula to eliminate any involvement from America, even using a Soviet-made Davy Crockett just for good measure, and exposits the fact that Snake was also being used by the DOD. Justified in that he did actually think Snake would side with Cunningham (hence why he told him), which Snake proved him wrong by attacking him.
    • Double subverted in Metal Gear Solid with Ocelot (albeit retroactively): After the second torture session with Snake, he exposits that his "true" plan was to restore Mother Russia to former glory. However, in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, he makes it clear that he actually has no interest in resurrecting Russia to its former glory, and in fact, for all he cares, it could rot, even demonstrating it by betraying and gunning down Gurlukovich. However, the third torture session has him admitting that he actually plans on reigniting conflict, feeling that the lack of it is causing people's true feelings to be surpressed, was played completely straight, especially when you take into account his actions as Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
      • Ocelot's loyalty was actually subverted in the first game's post-credits dialogue, when it's revealed he was reporting to the President of the United States.
  • Parodied in one of the bonus scenes from Bomberman 64: The Second Attack, where the Big Bad, after reviewing his plans aloud with no one else in the room, comments "It's not much fun making speeches about my plans without an audience..." After a pause he followed this up with maniacal laughter (which he happens to end almost every sentence with).
  • Resident Evil 4 had a particularly bad example. Saddler's plan revolves around kidnapping The Presidents Daughter, infecting her with the Virus, having her rescued, and then have her take control of the United States from within. And he goes and tells her rescuer the entire plan as she's being rescued. Smart move, villain.
  • Used in several games of the Tales (series), though often it's because the villains tend to be Well Intentioned Extremists or Knight Templar who feel the need to claim the moral high ground; some even hope to to recruit the heroes using such a speech. Ironically enough, it's averted in Tales of Phantasia where the villain never reveals his plan until he's dying—and if he'd taken five minutes to explain his motivation it probably would have helped convince the party that the villain isn't the monster he was made out to be.
  • At the end of The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal, the Physical God Almalexia explains to the Player Character how she convinced him/her that another god, Sotha Sil had gone insane and tried to attack the capital city of Mournhold, while it was all in fact orchestrated by her so that she could kill the other two gods of the Tribunal, turn the player into an unwilling martyr, and rule as the sole remaining god herself.
    • Her reasons for doing so seems to be twofold: one, she used to be the possibly loyal, possibly not wife of Nerevar, and is convinced you are his reincarnation, and two, her grip on reality is not the best anymore.
  • An interesting one in StarCraft II: The Dark Voice will eventually conquer the Universe and destroy the Zerg, Protoss and Terrans. Only when the Last Stand of the Protoss has played its last trump card (Artanis) will the Dark Voice reveal that the only one that could have stopped it was Kerrigan, who was long dead by that point. The twist? The Overmind saw all this in a vision, and shared it with Tassadar, who passed it to Zeratul, who showed it to James Raynor, allowing a different future to occur and possibly foiling the Dark Voice. While the Dark Voice did wait until he was utterly sure of victory to reveal his one weakness, even that isn't enough in a Universe with creatures that can see the future.
  • Can happen in Fallout: New Vegas near the end of the Omerta quest line, with one of the mob bosses. On the other hand, it takes a pretty high Speech skill to get him to talk, so it might be a subversion.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, new villain Ghirahim is very chatty every time you meet him. He hangs a lampshade on it by saying he has an urge to vent, and even goes as far as giving you pointers on sword fighting in your first battle with him.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

Arthas: Let me tell you a little secret, Blazer. The sword you're wielding is a key -- using it, you would be able to not only undo the summoning but you might also be able to release the soul of your dear friend, Yimo.
Blazer: (pauses) Why should I believe you?
Arthas: I never lie. I'm simply telling you because there is no way you can defeat me... And I would love watching you die in agony, realizing that you failed them all... again.

  • At the end of Broken Saints, Big Bad Lear Dunham spells out, in detail, his motives and the origins of his big plan to the heroes. The whole point of him telling them (and of their involvement in the plot at all) was so they would be inspired by his vision and join him as his chief apostles.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Hilariously subverted in Schlock Mercenary, where gate-cloned captain Tagon and Brad are captured by the Gatekeepers, interrogated, and are about to be executed. Tagon tries to stall the Gatekeeper by asking him if he's going to reveal his nefarious plans, but the Gatekeeper points out how silly a mistake that would be, and then kills both of them. He even refuses to tell the narrator any details, saying he's under standing orders not to reveal any secrets to the narrator.
  • Once more, Basic Instructions gives us simple step by step guidelines to this practice, including how to deal with the rude assassin when he's already escaped your trap and has a gun pointed at Kitty.
  • Parodied in Narbonic, when Mad Scientist Helen gets another scientist's henchman to explain her own plan to her as a stalling tactic.

Helen: There is no one on the side of Evil this tactic doesn't work on.

Nale: Whew, OK. Hopefully that got my natural urge to digress into a complete explanation of my evil plan out of my system. I don't want to go all "Bond villain" and forget to finish the job.

    • Roy tells Belkar how they plan to cheat the system by negotiating the latter's crime down from murder to manslaughter, then accepting a deal with would knock 5 years off the four year minimum sentence... right next to Hinjo (who's a nice guy, but also Lawful Good) who promptly hands down a stiffer sentence so Belkar can't weasel out of his punishment.

Hinjo: Belkar Bitterleaf, for the crime of voluntary manslaughter , I sentence you to to spend a term in prison equal to...6 years.
Belkar: What!?
Hinjo: Yeah, well you probably shouldn't have discussed how you plan to beat the system in front of the guy charged with upholding the system.

    • The black dragon mother explains her plan for revenge upon Vaarsuvius. Explaining the plan is, in fact, part of the plan.
    • The page image comes from a scene where Xykon gives Vaarsuvius a Hannibal Lecture outlining the wizard's core mistake in how s/he approached their earlier battle. Naturally, Vaarsuvius actually learns from what Xykon has to say and takes corrective action.
      • Though it is a bit of a partial subversion: Xykon is able to find the invisible Vaarsuvius thanks to his speech, and the speech smoothly flows into an explanation how he found him/her, suggesting he could've been doing it on purpose. But then he seems suprised that the paladin Vaarsuvius healed is back on his feet, so perhaps he just got lucky with the capture.
    • Elan's father later gives one to Elan, explaining every detail of how his plan is going to go, including his death. And explaining the plan actually gives him the better result.
    • Redcloak gives it a shot when Tsukiko figures out part of his plan. Then he takes control of her undead servants and has them kill and eat her, then each other. And that's why you don't mess with Redcloak.

Tsuriko: That... that doesn't help Xykon at all.
Redcloak: Yes, I know. That's why I've kept it from him for more than 30 years.

Dr. Steve: I've decided to just shoot you and get this over with.
Torg: But wait, don't you want to reveal your master plan to me?
Dr. Steve: No.
Torg: If you were a real villain, you'd tell me your master plan before killing me.
Dr. Steve: Hmmmm . . .
Torg: After you tell me your master plan, you can strap me to a table and cut me in half with a laser.
Dr. Steve: How about I tie you to a chair and blind you with a pen light?
Torg: Deal!
Dr. Steve: Let's do it!

Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In The Lion King, Scar has Simba hanging over a raging inferno, ready to toss him in. But Scar can't resist taunting him. "Here's my little secret: I killed Mufasa!" Of course, this revelation finally frees Simba from his lifelong (and unnecessary) guilt over his father's death, which gives him the Heroic Resolve necessary to turn the tables on Scar...
  • In Darkwing Duck, Negaduck explains in minute detail just how each Death Trap will kill its Justice Duck victim when he throws... the Switch!.
  • Spoofed in an episode of The Simpsons, where thanks to Homer, Bond loses his card game bet against Ernst Stavro Blofeld. As he's being carried off by the henchmen Bond exclaims, "That's impossible. I don't lose. I never lose! Well, at least tell me your plans for world domination!" Blofeld replies, "Oh no, I'm not falling for that one again."
  • Kim Possible: In the movie A Sitch In Time, Future Shego has victory in the palm of her hand... until Dr. Drakken (now her sidekick) talks her into gloating. Listing all the times Drakken himself has lost because of his own monologuing would cause this page to collapse under its own weight.
    • In one particular episode, this happened to Drakken three times in a montage sequence that lasted maybe a minute, tops. The last time, Kim and Ron manage to escape before Drakken could get as far as "And so, Kim Possible, you must watch as I-- GAH!!!"
    • In the first episode, Shego had convinced Drakken not to gloat while carrying out the mission. Good girl.
    • At one point, Drakken even delivers a visual presentation to Kim on how he intends to dispose of her.
    • Senor Senior, Sr., having taken up supervillainy as a hobby fit for an Eccentric Millionaire, adheres to Contractual Genre Blindness and considers this to be good form.
    • Kim's high school rival Bonnie is attached to her in "Bonding" and interrupts Professor Dementor's ranting to ask why he doesn't just get on with his plan. Annoyed, both Dementor and Kim tell her that that's the way these things are done.
  • Transformers Animated has this happening between two villains. Starscream has Megatron cornered and helpless, but being something of a Large Ham, he of course takes time to gloat. Bumblebee then bursts in, scoring a direct hit on Starscream with his stingers... which does nothing. He then goes berserk, mostly concerned that, as he put it:

Starscream: You interrupted my SPEECH!

  • Beast Wars also played with this in the episode "Dark Designs", where an attempt to brainwash Gentle Giant Rhinox into a Predacon goes off without a hitch... then goes straight to the Pit. When the evil Rhinox has Megatron backed into a corner, he starts up with this, to which Megatron responds: "Sometimes Predacons gloat too much!"
  • From an episode of Duckman: "They never just kill ya. There's always a lecture."
  • Animaniacs featured a villain in one episode who was contractually obligated to do this sort of thing.
  • Parodied in the Invader Zim episode "Tak: The Hideous New Girl," where Tak explains part one of her plan to cause The End of the World as We Know It to Zim and then immediately enacts it. When she tries to explain the rest of the plan however, Zim, being Zim, repeatedly interrupts her with screaming until a frustrated Tak simply leaves.
  • Barbie and the Diamond Castle: Lydia, after capturing Liana, takes the time to explain exactly how she tricked her because she knows that Liana took off the necklace that warded off her mind-control spell.
  • Dr. Zin to Dr. Quest in Jonny Quest TOS episodes "The Robot Spy" and "The Fraudulent Volcano". Justified in the former when Dr. Zin notes that he thinks showing off his robot does no harm considering that his enemies will not be able to stop it leaving. When the Robot makes a break for it, Quest, Race Bannon and staff of the military base learn that their enemy wasn't bluffing as they are stymied for a way to bring the machine down.
  • Constantly parodied Subverted Trope, Inverted Trope and Lampshaded Once an Episode in Phineas and Ferb when Perry the Platypus is captured by Dr. Doofenshmirtz in his lair. Sometimes Perry and Dr. Doofenshmirtz act as good friends, though Perry never fails to thwart the villain anyway. The whole Evil Gloating thing seems to be part of the Secret Agent/Evil Scientist contract. Doofensmirtz even says that since Perry's his nemesis, he has to tell him everything. Sometimes with visual presentations, pop-up books or musical numbers complete with backing dancers.
  • Actually Justified Trope in the Justice League crossover episode of Static Shock, where Braniac explains his plans to Static and Gear to distract them until he can attack.
  • Used repeatedly—and lampshaded at least once—in The Tick (animation):

Chairface Chippendale: Ah, this must be the part where I reveal my sinister plot!

  • The New Adventures of Superman episode "The Saboteurs". The Villain "The Chief" tells Lois Lane and Clark Kent his plan after he captures them.
  • In one episode of Storm Hawks, a Mook comes up with a plan to become an Ascended Extra. When he captures the heroes by sheer luck, he decides to get back to his master plan. Upon seeing the Storm Hawks' eager faces, he adds, "Which I won't discuss in front of you!"
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Jihad". After Charr is revealed as The Mole, he reveals his plan to start a holy war between his people, the Skorr, and the rest of the galaxy.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Adolf Hitler wrote a book, while in prison, detailing exactly what he intended to do, before he was elected chancellor. Perhaps the most brutal subversion of this trope. Even more, his fellow inmates suggested he write the book because they were sick of listening to him talk about.